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Former Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer to challenge Senator Chuck Grassley in Iowa

WASHINGTON – Former Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer is running for the Senate and is looking to win the seat currently held by longtime Republican Senator Chuck Grassley midway through next year.

Finkenauer, 32, became the second-youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress when she won the Democratic Wave of 2018. But she was defeated two years later in one of the most watched congressional races in the country while Republicans backed down many Democrats. “Past earnings.

An early supporter of President Joe Biden and the daughter of a welder and public school teacher, Finkenauer focused on the working class and those “left behind” in his Senate announcement video.

Finkenauer told the Des Moines Register that the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol had convinced her to come forward and, in her video, blamed Republicans like Grassley for failing to protect democracy.

“Politicians who have been there for decades don’t really want people like us to be there. They think they have democracy and they were silent when it was attacked, ”she said in the video. “It’s politicians like Sen. Grassley and Mitch McConnell who should know better, but are so obsessed with power that they oppose anything that makes us move forward.”

Grassley, 87, has not said if he will run for an eighth term in the Senate, but he would be the clear favorite in a state former President Donald Trump has won twice and Grassley has represented in Washington for over 45 years. years.

He raised $ 625,000 in the last quarter, a relatively small amount for a Senate incumbent heading into an election year, but has more than $ 2.5 million in reserve.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senate Committee, Katharine Cooksey, called Finkenauer too liberal for the state.

“Abby Finkenauer and her far-left positions are no different from those of Bernie Sanders, the AOC and the Socialist squad, so it’s no surprise that the Iowans fired her last year. “she said.

So far, Finkenauer is the most prominent Democrat in the race. Representative Cindy Axne, the only Democrat left in Iowa’s four-member congressional delegation, did not rule out an offer, and former County Supervisor Dave Muhlbauer is the other Democrat in contention right now .

Finkenauer is from Dubuque County, which is part of a part of the working-class Iowa counties along the Mississippi River that were once reliably Democrats, but have seen some of the biggest shifts to the right. of the country under Trump.

Former President Barack Obama has won Iowa twice and won Dubuque County by more than 20 percentage points in 2008, but Trump defeated both Hillary Clinton and Biden, who was the first Democrat to win the presidency from Franklin Delano Roosevelt without carrying Dubuque County.

“Finkenauer’s fate as a candidate depends on whether Grassley is a candidate or not,” Cook Political Report analyst Jessica Taylor said. “It’s a Republican seat at its heart. And someone with such a long connection to the state who was easily re-elected as Grassley would clearly be the front-runner.”

The other senator from Iowa, Republican Joni Ernst, was re-elected last year at 52% to 45%, although he was largely overtaken by his Democratic opponent Theresa Greenfield, who also had more support from the super PAC and external groups.

Still, Finkenauer has proven to be a tremendous fundraiser in his two congressional races and built a national profile, which could help make the race competitive and force National Republicans to divert resources to Iowa.

“Democrats have much better targets on the board to retain and expand their majority than Iowa,” Taylor added.

The Senate is currently split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the decisive vote for Democrats, meaning a single-seat swing could have huge ramifications midway through 2022.

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